According to HubSpot, brands reap significant benefits from advocacy marketing, enjoying an astonishing 650% return on investment (ROI) for every dollar spent.
Investing efforts in this strategy proves fruitful, as it not only attracts new customers but also significantly boosts revenue.
Identifying and Engaging Your Brand Advocates
Advocates are crucial for business growth as they spread positive word-of-mouth about your brand.
To find them, keep an eye on social media platforms, forums and online communities where discussions about your brand happen. Look for people who consistently show enthusiasm, recommend your products/services and engage positively with others.
You should also actively seek and analyse customer feedback, including reviews, testimonials and surveys. The idea is to spot customers who consistently provide positive feedback and demonstrate a deep understanding of your brand.
On top of that, pay attention to customers who frequently interact with your brand through various channels, such as social media, email or events. They may leave comments, share your content or participate in contests and promotions.
Having identified vocal fans, you can tap into their passion and influence to potentially amplify your brand’s reach, build credibility and drive organic growth. But how do you actually engage them?
As a rule of thumb, you initially need to focus on delivering outstanding customer experiences at every touchpoint. If you consistently meet or exceed expectations, you lay the foundation for fostering strong customer advocacy.
Building meaningful connections with your advocates is another way to engage them directly. Respond to comments and messages, express gratitude for the support and offer exclusive perks or reward programmes to recognise their loyalty.
Last but not least, you have to actively encourage advocates to create user-generated content such as testimonials, reviews or social media posts about their positive experiences with your brand. Implement referral programmes that incentivise advocates to refer friends and family to your products or services.
Engaging Influencers and Thought Leaders
Advocates can come from outside your existing community as well. A prime example of engaging influencers and thought leaders is Inter Miami, a US football club owned by David Beckham. Beckham, a global sports icon, used his personal brand to draw attention to Inter Miami and create a buzz around the club’s activities.
To further boost Inter Miami’s visibility and credibility, Beckham leveraged his connections and influence in the sports world to sign Lionel Messi, arguably the greatest footballer of all time. Messi’s arrival not only attracted global media attention but also generated immense excitement among football fans worldwide.
The impact of Messi as an influencer had a mind-blowing effect on Inter Miami’s online presence. Within just a matter of days, it became the fifth most followed sports club in the US, surpassing all established teams in NFL and NHL and gaining over 7 million followers. This exponential growth showcased the immense effect that strategic collaborations with influencers can have on brand awareness and audience engagement.
Empowering and Motivating Your Advocates
Once you have put your advocacy team together, the next step is to empower them.
As chief marketing officers hold a position of influence and are often the primary point of contact with customers, they can play a pivotal role in ensuring that all voices are not only heard but also featured prominently in marketing campaigns. A shining example of this approach comes from Avon, a global beauty and personal care brand.
Avon understood the challenges faced by women during the pandemic and took action to give them a platform to share their stories. Through a comprehensive survey that reached 8,000 women worldwide, Avon gained valuable insights into the issues impacting their lives. The survey revealed that 41% experienced a loss of confidence during this challenging time.
The company took a proactive step by partnering with models representing diverse ethnicities, backgrounds and abilities. This collaboration aimed to create awareness and drive engagement through the My Story Matters platform, where Avon provided a safe and supportive space for women to authentically share their unedited stories, empowering them to reclaim their confidence and express themselves freely.
By actively listening, engaging and featuring voices in your campaigns, you can make a difference, drive meaningful change and build a stronger connection with your customers, fostering a more equitable and representative society.
Leveraging Social Media to Amplify Customer Advocacy
Social media holds tremendous potential for brands to engage with their audience on a deeper level. Superdrug, a prominent UK company with over 10 million members in their loyalty programme, serves as an excellent example of harnessing the power of social network platforms to elevate customer advocacy.
With a staggering 1 million followers on Instagram, 416k on TikTok and 215k on Twitter, Superdrug effectively uses these platforms to provide valuable content to its audience. Through tips, tutorials and educational content, Superdrug showcases its products, helping customers make informed choices.
Furthermore, Superdrug’s social media strategy includes engaging giveaways that generate excitement and encourage participation from its followers. Incentives and rewards allow Superdrug to nurture customer loyalty while expanding its reach to new potential advocates.
Through its active presence on social media, Superdrug has created a dynamic platform where customers can not only stay updated on the latest products but also engage with the brand and fellow customers.
PUMA: Success Story of a Brand with Strong Customer Advocacy
PUMA, the renowned sports brand, has made a significant impact on aspiring athletes around the world, establishing a dedicated following over the years. Recognising the potential of its vast loyal fanbase, PUMA sought to fuel growth in its direct-to-consumer (D2C) channel.
The adoption of customer advocacy has yielded impressive outcomes since 2021, such as:
- Achieving a remarkable 6x return on investment (ROI) after six months of optimisation
- Customers referred by existing fans have proven to be four times more likely to bring in new customers and exhibit a 6% higher lifetime value compared to customers acquired through other channels
- A notable 10% of referrals effectively converted into new customers
“With a fraction of budget, Mention Me delivers strong revenue and invaluable insights. It’s absolutely been a wise investment for PUMA”, says David Witts, PUMA’s Senior CRM Manager E-Commerce Europe.
“By integrating customer advocacy data, we’ve changed how we segment and communicate to our customer base. It’s helped us identify who our biggest advocates and most loyal customers are, helping us to overcome rising paid media and acquisition costs”.
Measuring the Impact of Customer Advocacy on Brand Growth
To observe the impact of your customer advocacy initiatives, it is essential to establish measurable objectives. These goals will provide a clear direction and benchmarks to gauge the success of your programme. For instance, your target may be recruiting a specific number of new advocates or acquiring a pre-set number of new customers through direct referrals.
Once your advocacy programme has been active for some time, it is necessary to evaluate its progress. Various metrics can help you to gauge its effectiveness, as suggested by Gartner. They include revenue influenced, win rate, sales cycle compression and Net Promoter Score (NPS).
Regularly monitoring and evaluating the performance of your customer advocacy initiatives ensures that you stay aligned with your goals and can make necessary, data-driven adjustments along the way.